Nearly four years ago, Greg Oden crumpled to the floor on a non-contact play in the Rose Garden. The once-promising center never saw action again in an NBA game, but made his triumphant return from the devastating knee injury that nearly ended his career on Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets.
His time on the floor was limited to just four minutes. During those minutes, he collected two rebounds, two turnovers, two missed free throws and one emphatic basket to show that in time, he may prove to be a vital piece if the Miami Heat want to win another championship this season:
Albeit very brief, it was a remarkable and inspirational moment for his career. His teammate and apparent doppelganger LeBron James was especially proud of what he witnessed from Oden:
Man I’m so happy for GO tonight! Couldn’t imagine being away from the game for 3 years. Feel like a proud big brother! Determination wins
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 24, 2013
“Determination wins” rings especially true for Oden, whose career many assumed was long over. If he can eventually provide the Heat with 15-20 minutes come playoff time, he will be the one piece that the Big Three have never had a chance to work with since coming together – a legitimate center who can make a difference at both ends of the floor. But whether you like the Heat or not, this is one guy everyone should pull for and hope that he can stay healthy moving forward because the league will be better with him in it.
James Park is the chief blogger of Sheridan Hoops. Find him on twitter @SheridanBlog.